Proverbs 10 – Wickedness

1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

“The proverbs of Solomon” – the title of a collection of individual proverbs that extends through 22:16.  The numerical values of the consonants in the Hebrew word for “Solomon” total 375 – the exact number of verses in 10:1-22:16; 372 of Solomon’s proverbs were selected from a much larger number (cf 1 Kgs  4:32).

“wise son” – see v 5; 15:20; 17:21, 25; 29:3, 15.  In later collections he is described as “righteous” (23:24-25) and as one “who keepeth the law”.

2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing” – ill-gotten gain.  These treasures are fleeting (21;6) and result in God’s Judgment (see 1:19; 10:16; Ez 7:19).

“righteousness delivereth from death”- see 2:16-18; 3:2; 13:21.

3 The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

“will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish” – will not allow the righteous to go hungry; see 13:25; 28:25; Ps 34:9-10; 3 7:19, 25.

“casteth away the substance of the wicked” – does not give the wicked their desires; see Num 11:34; Ps 112:10.

4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Many proverbs praise diligence and the profit it brings, and they condemn laziness as a cause of hunger and poverty.

5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.

“sleepeth in harvest” – sleeping when there is work to be done is condemned also in 6:9-11; 19:15; 20:13.

6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

”Blessings” – God’s gifts and favors.

“violence covereth the mouth of the wicked” – the trouble caused by their lips will eventually ruin them.

7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

“memory of the just” – remembering the righteo

8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

“The wise…receive commandments” – see 9:8-9.

“prating fool” – Lit “a fool of lips,” a person who babbles on without wisdom, see vv 10, 14, 18, 19.

9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

He that perverteth his ways shall be known” – his wicked ways will be exposed (see Lk 8:17; 1 Tim 5:24-25; 2 Tim 3:9).

10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall. 

11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

“well of life” – a source of life-giving wisdom.

“violence covereth” – the wicked may disguise their ill intent by their words.

12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.

14 Wise men layup knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

“layup knowledge” – rather than babbling folly – and so the wise prosper.

“near destruction” – quick with his mouth, the fool only brings ruin on himself.

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.

An observation about wealth and poverty.

“wealth is his strong city” – wealth brings friends and power – but ultimate security is found only in God (Ps 52:7).

“destruction of the poor is their poverty” – poverty has no influence, no friends, no security.

16 The labor of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

“the labor of the righteous tendeth to life” – not wealth, but righteousness assures life.

“fruit of the wicked to sin” – or to the personal calamity that results from their sin  – “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).

17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

“hideth hatred with lying lips” – by pretending friendliness.

19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

“choice silver” – what the righteous say has great value.

“heart of the wicked” – their thoughts and schemes.

21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

”blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich” – wealth is a gift from God, not a product of human attainment.

“addeth no sorrow with it” – unlike the “treasures of wickedness” of v 2.

23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

“The fear of the wicked” – the calamity and distress that the wicked person dreads (see Job 15:21; Is 66:4).

“the desire of the righteous” – see Ps 37:4; 145:19; Matt 5:6; 1 Jn 5:14-15.

25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

Cf the wise man who built his house on a rock, and the foolish man who built his on the sand (Matt 7:24-27).

“so is the wicked no more” – see Ps 37:10; Is 28:18.

“the righteous…foundation” – unshakable, unmovable.

26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.

29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

“way of the LORD” – the way He prescribes, the life of wisdom (see Ps 27:11; 143:8; Matt 22:16; Act 18:25).

“destruction…to the workers of iniquity” – since Judgment comes to those who refuse God’s way (see 21:15; 2 Cor 2:15-16; 2 Pet 2:21).

30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.

“shall never be removed”: – or shaken from their security (see 21:15; 10:25; 12:3; Ps 125:1.

“not inhabit the earth’ – or dwell in the promised land.

31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.

32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.